Apr 15, 2010 at 5:47 pm #1257775
I'm sure there are some interesting stories out there on some very high mileage days and the various reasons why. I know the tru hikers have pizza crazed road marches to get into town. Let's hear some stories.Apr 15, 2010 at 6:16 pm #1598486
@knaightLocale: Western Massachusetts
My highest mile day was a week and a half ago. Did 35 miles as part of a training regimen to get myself in shape to do an ultra/speed hike in a couple of months.
I learned a lot about regulating body temperature, the amount and type of calories I need, and how much water I need to treat, carry, and drink. A lot of these were details I never picked up on smaller hikes, because I never hiked 12 hours without a legit break before.
I have to say, I felt pretty ill toward the end of the hike. This was because I realized the morning of that I had less food than I thought I did and needed to hit the trail early, so didn't have time to go shopping. I ended up bringing only 1500 calories, and it was stupid. I should have waited until the store opened, grabbed something, and then bit the bullet and hiked a couple of hours in the dark instead. Lesson learned.
The good news is that I discovered mental fortitude that I didn't know I had. There was a section at mile 32 that gained 600 feet of elevation in a half mile. Not so bad under normal circumstances, but after 32 miles and on a very empty stomach…
It was super hard, but I was proud of myself for pushing through it.
Also saw some cool wildlife on this trip, that I obviously would not have seen on a shorter one. I nearly stepped on two separate black racers about 12 miles apart, one was around four feet long. Saw a HUGE wild turkey — biggest one I've ever seen. Spotted a Pileated woodpecker, which is a bit of a treat around here.Apr 20, 2010 at 8:28 pm #1600267
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
My two highest mileage days on the PCT had nothing to do with pizza.
I hiked 35 miles one day simply by psyching myself into it. I decided that 30 miles was probably a psychological barrier so rather than think of the miles I was completing I decided to change my focus and think instead of chipping away at the miles remaining to the next town. Toward the very end of the day, I passed by a place I could have camped, and then I was stuck hiking for another hour through an area with absolutely nowhere to camp. Finally, just as the sun was setting, I reached the perfect campsite and my first 35 mile day.
I hiked 36 miles one day in Oregon. It was a relatively flat area of trail between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood. I just kept hiking. I didn't feel like stopping. I finally only stopped because I needed the final waning minutes of light to kill any mosquitoes that might follow me into my tent. The next morning I hiked easily to Timberline Lodge where I stood on the balcony and looked in absolute amazement at Mt. Jefferson way in the distance, thinking to myself, I can't believe I walked all that distance in only two days. I knew not a single other person there would understand that feeling. It was one of the best moments of the hike for me.Apr 21, 2010 at 4:55 am #1600337
High mileage is alittle different here in New England with the terrain but did 24 miles once in the Whites b/c I wanted a hamburger and 26 miles on the Mondanock Sunnapee Greenway b/c I just wanted to be done. Can't really imagine doing 30+ mile days here. I am sure it is possible but not fun at all.
Total pack weights for the 24 miler was prob around 16lbs and 25lbs for the 26 mile day.Apr 21, 2010 at 6:13 am #1600348
@figsterLocale: Central Arkansas
I enjoy my thirty minute coffee sesssions in the morning and longer lunch breaks to even consider doing 30 miles in a day!
Twenty or so miles is all I care for in a day.Apr 21, 2010 at 6:22 am #1600351
Great topic of discussion. Since this is backpackinglight – it'll be good to also include your pack weights.Apr 21, 2010 at 6:35 am #1600355
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
I did thirty mile days all across Oregon. And I don't think that I ever went over 33 miles per day. That was around my daily maximum without turning it up to another level of hardship.Apr 21, 2010 at 6:46 am #1600361
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
>>>High mileage is alittle different here in New England with the terrain but did 24 miles once in the Whites b/c I wanted a hamburger and 26 miles on the Mondanock Sunnapee Greenway b/c I just wanted to be done. Can't really imagine doing 30+ mile days here. I am sure it is possible but not fun at all.<<<
I've wondered myself about high mile days in New England vs. other areas. It seems not too many people outside the Skurka's and Thompson's of the world are regularly pulling off big miles up here, but lot's of people do it in other parts of the country.
My highest mile day in New England was ~ 20 miles (1 day traverse of the Bonds) and my normal planned backpacking days are around 15 miles. And 15 miles can really kick my butt up here but I'm hoping to push some bigger miles later this summer and see what happens.Apr 21, 2010 at 7:02 am #1600367
I agree John, 10-15 mile days is prob the norm for UL hikers up here and freakin ridculous for standard heavy hikers. Like you said, people do put in 25+ mile days in the Whites but normally they are ultra runners out training for races.Apr 21, 2010 at 7:20 am #1600371
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Max day: 45 miles in a day
Max multiple days: ~30 miles/day
Why? Because I wanted to know what I *could* do. It wasn't fun.
Max "normal": ~20 miles. More than that and I typically ache the next day. Planning more than ~20 miles / days makes me feel "chased" were I worry about mileage rather than the hike.
My "normal" days are around 15 miles. I found that's just right for me.
There have been a couple trips where the last day was in the mid-20 miles. Typically I was and I was within 5 miles of the trail head and had a reason to exit (typically either wet, hungry, or in pain). The thought of the unpleasantness ending and getting a nice meal, good beer, and a soft bed encouraged me to push to finish.
–MarkApr 21, 2010 at 7:45 am #1600377
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
My max is 29 miles in one day. It was part of a trip on the AT where I did 105 miles in 4 days. My pack weight was around 18 pounds.Apr 21, 2010 at 7:45 am #1600378
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
On the hikes where I've gone for big miles, sore and tired feet always seem to be the limiting factor (as opposed to daylight). Doing more than 30 in a day for consecutive days requires some willpower. Doing more than 40 (mostly or all on trails) is possible for me when I'm fit but requires a LOT of will power, and I'm not sure it's all that sustainable.
In summary, 30 seems to be the usual ceiling, I only go above it under special circumstances. I've wondering if getting really backpacking fit might change this. Hope to find out this summer.
My personal day hiking record is 62 miles in 19.5 hours, but that involved some serious suffering.Apr 21, 2010 at 7:55 am #1600382
single day solo non race effort :
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim
Bright Angel – North Kaibab – Bright Angel
47 miles (46.6 miles on trail and .5 miles to the restaurant)
12,000 ft elevation gain
7 lb pack
Why ? Because its a spectacular setting.Apr 21, 2010 at 7:57 am #1600384
"My personal day hiking record is 62 miles in 19.5 hours"
that makes me hurt just thinking about it!Apr 21, 2010 at 8:02 am #1600385
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
Wow, some of you guys are crazy. My dream "death march" is a one day Mahoosuc Traverse (31.1 miles, 10,750ft elevation gain) which would apparantly be a warm up for some of you.Apr 21, 2010 at 8:17 am #1600394
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…Apr 21, 2010 at 4:54 pm #1600635
@knaightLocale: Western Massachusetts
Just to add:
My weight on my 35 mile day was about 16 lbs. I completed the hike in 11 hrs, 55 minutes, so right around 3 MPH. It was difficult.
I'm definitely going to do another 30+ miler in the month of May, and hopefully a 40+ miler. The Robert Frost trail in Massachusetts is 47 miles, and I'd like to try and dayhike that. The terrain isn't too bad by New England standards, so I think it's doable. I imagine it'd take me a good 17 to 18 hours.
My big test is coming up quick. In two months I'll be attempting to do 116 miles over three days, unsupported. Can't wait!Apr 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm #1601291
My longest day was climing glacier peak. Woke up at 2am, climbed about 5,000 feet to the summit. Summited at about 9am. Returned to camp and packed up and hiked another 10 miles to the car. I was a walking zombie by the time I got there.
I recently did a 15 mile hike of half dome with a day pack. By the time I was done, I was in severe pain. Of course, this is a very strenuous hike.
I'd say my comfort zone is about 8-10 miles before I start not having much fun…Apr 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm #1601330
@jameslantzLocale: North Georgia
My daily max was 23 miles on the first day of a GSMNP NOBO thru hike on the AT, which was a total distance of 72 miles in 3 days, 3 hrs. Had to make it to Davenport Gap at a certain time for pickup. Pack weight was 14 lbs. This was STUPID!!! By far the most physically challenging thing this 51 yo has ever done & my 27 yo hiking buddy agreed. We now refer to it as the Bataan Death March. I now find that 12-15 miles daily is about right for me.Apr 24, 2010 at 1:49 am #1601486
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
Max mileage: 35 miles – Between Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Hood
Max mileage days I am most proud of: 30 miles in the Glacier Peak Wilderness in freezing weather / also a 31 mile day in the Sierras near Echo Lake.
Why? Because I needed to get to the post office before it closed for the weekend.
DirkApr 24, 2010 at 3:57 am #1601493
>> but did 24 miles once in the Whites b/c I wanted a hamburger
More proof that no one should ever under estimate the power of a hamburger
For me, around 20 is my max – while 17 seems to be "regular". I've done that for no reason other than to see if I could. No good stories.
This year I want to try a 30 – or see how close I can get to it. I feel that after I hit a threshold like 15 or 20, then psychologically I have no problem upping my "regular" mileage. If I hit 30, then low-mid 20 should be more attainable for my "regular". In my own mind anyway : )Apr 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm #1601709
@missingutahLocale: Smoky Mountains
Great topic, and very interesting reads.
My longest day, by hours, was roughly 6am to 9pm several years ago. I don't recall how many miles I accomplished, but it was my first ever 20+ mile day, I know this much. It was in the Smokies, did no prep with the rangers ahead of time, and I just kept coming across camp sites on my route that were closed due to bear activity. This was during high water conditions, and I had to do several difficult creek crossings during the last 4 miles or so that just seemed to take forever. I ended up making camp at a site that required a reservation (that I never made), but sometimes you have to do that.
28 miles is the most I've ever done in one day — also in the Smokies. I have a tendency of planning my last night of my routes to be about 2-4 miles from my car, and often times hiking through that section and getting to my car early and skipping the last night of camp. To circumvent that, on this particular trip, I planned a 5 day trip that left me 11 miles from my car on the last night after 3 previous days of 18-20 miles per.
I got off to a great start on day 4, and, after 17 miles I got to my reserved site at about 3pm. This was way too early for me, and as I sat down, I looked over my map and noticed it was all reserved sites back to my car. So, it was either sit around at the site for several hours before sleep, or trek it 11 miles to my car and end my trip early. I chose the latter.
After the 20 mile mark, I was very proud of myself. It seemed I had endless energy even after 24 miles as I breezed past several hikers on uphill segments. Right around mile 24 I peaked elevation and it was all downhill to the car, right? As I went half mile by half mile downhill, I was really feeling it. From endless energy going uphill, I just hit a wall on the trek down, and it was destroying my feet and my knees. By mile 26 I was already in enough pain that I had serious considerations of just taking a nap right there on the trail. But it was nearly dark, and when I stumbled across a momma black bear and her cub, it was clear I needed to get back to my car. A momma and a cub was the last thing I wanted to encounter at that time, in that condition. The incident didn't give me any second wind, but I did manage to, quite literally, stumble the last 1.5 miles to my car in near dark conditions.
Long-winded, I guess, but that's my story. I now routinely do 20 mile days, and my comfort zone seems to be in the 18-20 range. I'm in decent enough shape these days, that I could probably push a 35-40 mile day if I needed to; but I hope that day never comes.Apr 26, 2010 at 6:27 am #1602107
I have run more in one day then i have ever hiked.
My max mileage while backpacking i think was 16 miles…probably with a 30 lb pack lol. Anyway I am done with the "push for miles" phase of my backpacking. I am more in the 6-10 miles while enjoying myself and taking breaks to play around phase.
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